Monthly Archives: January 2013

One thing a conference television network gets you…

is a legitimate debate about a ten-game conference football schedule.

One possible solution to this that the conference athletic directors are considering is the 10-game conference schedule. Of course, while that balances out home and road games in conference, it only leaves space for two nonconference games, which means it could be just as hard to get to seven home games on the season.

“Most of us need seven home games in order to make our local budgets,” Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith said. “Is there a way to overcome that? I don’t know. We’ll have to look at that. The conference is aware that it’s an issue.”

A reason they can contemplate losing that seventh home game is the math behind what a tenth conference game adds to the value of the broadcast package.

… The more Big Ten games that are played give the Big Ten more Big Ten games to show on its network and sell as part of the conference’s new television deal. All of which leads to more money.

Money that could help overcome the loss of an occasional home game.

This will be interesting to keep an eye on, no doubt.  Especially as we watch Slive tap dance with the networks on the new SEC TV deals (and possible birth of a SEC Network).

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9 Comments

Filed under Big Ten Football

Thank you, Mike Hamilton.

We all gripe about how the administration at Georgia seems to focus more on the financial bottom line than on the athletic success bottom line, but things could be much, much worse.

Now, after staggering to losing football seasons in four of the last five years and seeing attendance drop to levels last seen in the 1970s, the Vols find themselves mired in more than $200 million of debt, the most in the SEC, with reserves of just $1.95 million, the least in the conference.

The athletic department spends a startling $21 million a year on debt payments, $13.5 million of which comes from the school’s stressed $99.5 million athletic budget and the rest from donations.

That’s what you get when everyone connected to a once-successful football program dips into a till that slowly and surely dwindles.  Multi-million dollar contributions to the school, local taxes, seemingly random stadium expansions and, of course, expensive buy-out payments to fired coaches all took their toll.  Speaking of which, ain’t this a kick in the (urnge) pants?

Tennessee’s reserves were close to $30 million about five years ago, but they’ve been depleted by… $11.4 million in buyouts to fired coaches in football, basketball and baseball, as well as administrators. Hamilton walked away in 2011 with a $1.335 million buyout.

None of that includes a $5 million buyout owed Derek Dooley, who was fired as Tennessee’s football coach in November, and $2 million to his assistants. That $7 million will have to be found in this year’s budget.

I can’t say which stings worse.

But a savior arises.

The financial cavalry is on the way, though, in the form of additional TV revenue from the SEC’s contracts with ESPN and CBS. Those deals average $205 million a year for the league and they are expected to jump to about $300 million annually when they are updated. The conference is renegotiating the contracts to account for the growth to 14 teams with the addition of Missouri and Texas A&M.

Hart said SEC athletic directors have not been told exactly how much new revenue that will mean, but projections are $5 million to $10 million a year for each school. Nowhere in the SEC will that be more welcome than at Tennessee.

You think these guys oppose conference expansion?

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UPDATE:  Year2 looks around the rest of the SEC to see how much its athletic departments have larded themselves up with debt.  ‘Bama and LSU are bigger borrowers than UT; it’s just that they haven’t suffered from a drop in fan support like the Vols have.

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Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange

“I think the people of Texas want a game, and we’re trying to get them one.”

Ah, yes… the great American tradition of state legislators stepping in where ADs fear to tread is alive and well.

If it passes, I wonder how those dudes will feel about the law the first time it costs one of those schools a shot at the new playoff.

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Filed under Political Wankery

Envy and jealousy: meet the NCAA, “the baggy-pants clowns of Inner Authoritarian Dinner Theater”

I’m not sure you’ll read a better one-sentence summary of the NCAA’s debacle concerning the Miami investigation than this one from Mr. Pierce“In the course of investigating Nevin Shapiro, the NCAA indicted itself.”

True ‘dat.

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Filed under Envy and Jealousy

The AJ-C has proof that the AJ-C was right about Grantham.

Big recruiting news from the weekend is that Georgia has managed to flip Chamblee’s Davin Bellamy away from Florida State.

“Yes, Georgia is my leader,” Bellamy told the AJC on Sunday night. “They are losing eight starters on defense. They have Jordan Jenkins at one outside linebacker, with the other side kind of up for grabs. Coach (Todd) Grantham feels I can be his guy there, and compete for the job immediately.”

Awesome, right?  Well, there’s a teeny little catch.

“He said at outside linebacker, that I will be making a lot of money one day. The thing about that is, I hope he’s there while I’m there, if I decide to go there.”  [Emphasis added.]

So much for that clever marketing strategy.  Somewhere out there, Chip Towers is nodding sagely and muttering, “Told ‘ya so, Todd.”

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Filed under Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles, Recruiting

“I want to make sure we keep the bowls relevant.”

One thing that puzzles me about this new “diversity” approach Big Ten ADs are talking up as a solution to dwindling fan interest:  if you’re from, say, Nebraska or Wisconsin, is freezing your ass off in late December at the Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium really a more attractive option than some bowl game in sunny Florida?

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Filed under Big Ten Football

The comedic stylings of Michael Adams

Dickhead, heal thyself.

University of Georgia president Michael Adams warned against letting football become too powerful…

“(The university’s athletic interests) are increasingly dominated nationally by media and entertainment organizations and their values. We have worked hard to improve the balance, but it is a constant battle,” said Adams, who steps down as UGA president June 30.

“The academic establishment has to control the athletic establishment, not the other way around. Last year’s troubling news out of Penn State made that quite clear.”

Honestly, if Charles Knapp were saying that (and later in the article Adams actually has the gall to pretend that he’s somehow a continuation of Knapp), I’d take it seriously, perhaps.  But Adams?  Don’t make me laugh.

If you want “the academic establishment to control the athletic establishment”, take the school out of the SEC.  Otherwise, shut the hell up.

By the way, if all it takes to keep Adams out of the public eye after his retirement is not enclosing Sanford Stadium, keep that west end open.

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Filed under Michael Adams Wants To Rule The World

“I’m a big football fan, but I have to tell you if I had a son…”

Something tells me that Mark Emmert doesn’t have time for the shit President Obama is laying down in this interview:

… if I had a son, I’d have to think long and hard before I let him play football. And I think that those of us who love the sport are going to have to wrestle with the fact that it will probably change gradually to try to reduce some of the violence. In some cases, that may make it a little bit less exciting, but it will be a whole lot better for the players, and those of us who are fans maybe won’t have to examine our consciences quite as much.

I tend to be more worried about college players than NFL players in the sense that the NFL players have a union, they’re grown men, they can make some of these decisions on their own, and most of them are well-compensated for the violence they do to their bodies. You read some of these stories about college players who undergo some of these same problems with concussions and so forth and then have nothing to fall back on. That’s something that I’d like to see the NCAA think about.  [Emphasis added.]

And that’s probably a mistake.  You may disagree with the man’s politics, but it’s hard to deny that Obama’s good at reading public sentiment.  This concussion thing is moving fast – or at least faster than people like Emmert are. You ignore subtle warnings like that at your own risk.  And the risk the NCAA and the colleges run is that they may be one big tragedy away (like, say, a death on the field) from having control of player safety taken away from them.

Unfortunately, if there’s one thing the NCAA isn’t good at, it’s being proactive.

44 Comments

Filed under Political Wankery, The Body Is A Temple, The NCAA

Just say no, Todd.

It’s well-known that Grantham’s contract doesn’t contain a buyout provision in the event the coach elects to go back to the NFL as a defensive coordinator.  Apparently in Chip Towers’ mind that means any time a NFL defensive coordinator position opens up, Grantham is automatically in the mix unless he issues a specific denial.  Silence is offensive.

I am not making this up.

At this point, we can’t be sure. Since Grantham’s contract allows him to leave UGA without penalty for an NFL coordinator’s job (or a head coach’s job), we can only assume he’d be interested any such position. And, again, he’s not saying anything. So until the Eagles or Saints hire someone, or Grantham speaks up, we can’t be sure whether Grantham is actually up for those jobs or not.

UGA Athletic Director Greg McGarity said both Thursday and Friday that contact between Grantham and any other teams has not been disclosed to him, as is contractually required from Grantham. [Emphasis added.]  Grantham has a two years left on a three-year contract with Georgia that pays him $825,000 a year. Including bonuses from this past season, Grantham will have made about $1 million this past year. So one would think he’d be careful not to violate the terms therein.

Of course, Grantham could solve the NFL mystery with a single statement, but none has been forthcoming. And none of the reasons for his silence are very flattering, in my opinion.

You know what happens when you assume, Chip.  Maybe Grantham’s next contract should contain a requirement that he disclose his plans to you as well as McGarity.

36 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles

“We don’t have the resources you need to compete at this level.”

There are plenty of reasons I prefer college football to the NFL variety, but if I could only choose one, I’d point to this great story about Chris Ault.

The birthplace of the Pistol Offense is a carpeted, 10-foot-by-30-foot stretch in the front of the Nevada football locker room that has probably been walked over a million times in the past eight years. One morning in the spring of 2005, Wolf Pack head coach Chris Ault — coming off a 5-7 season — led his running backs coach Jim Mastro and three other Nevada assistants with him from their coaching offices down a flight of stairs at 6:30 a.m. to the ground floor of the Wolf Pack football building.

Ault had an idea, an idea that less than a decade later has had a profound influence not just on college football, but the NFL as well. What grew from a six-hour session that began that morning in Reno a few weeks before the start of spring ball has had an impact that has even helped spark the San Francisco 49ers and their young standout quarterback Colin Kaepernick on a Super Bowl run.

“I was disgusted with our run game,” Ault recalled to CBS on Wednesday morning. “I felt our football program needed an identity. Honestly, it was gonna be a feast or famine with this thing.”

Engineering an entirely new offensive formation/strategy out of necessity due to limited resources was just the first step.  The second was finding gold in a raw kid – and adapting the strategy to his talents.

“He was a Wing-T QB in high school, and he threw it side arm,” Ault said. “He had that pitching throw. You could see he had decent speed. We had him in camp. I probably wouldn’t have offered him off film. We didn’t offer him out of camp. But we knew he probably could be a good free safety or wide receiver if he couldn’t play quarterback. He was such a great kid, very attentive. We didn’t know he was getting ready to put his cape on, and it’s now with a big K right in the middle of it.”

Can you imagine a coach in the NFL going out on a limb like that?  Nah.  Going out on a limb there means taking a chance that what Ault came up with in that six-hour session might work at the next level.

College ball doesn’t have the NFL’s parity.  But it more than makes up for that with its diversity.  Paul Johnson may be an ass of the first order, but I love that there’s a place in the world for the triple option.  Long may all of it run.

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Filed under College Football, Strategery And Mechanics